What are Terpenes ?
Terpenes are aromatic compounds secreted in the same glands that produce cannabinoids. They are responsible or each strain of Cannabis's unique scent, flavor, and affect the characteristics of a strains psychoactive effects.
Terpenes are developed as an adaptive process within the plant. Some terpenes attract pollinators and others repel predators. Some offer regenerative properties within the plant as well as offer protection from the elements. A plants terpene profile is influenced by many factors, including climate, soil composition, age, and fertilization types.
Like terpenes and cannabinoids, the Cannabis plant produces more than 400 known trace compounds. It's believed that these elements interact synergistically creating what in commonly referred to as the Entourage Effect. Research in this field is new but promising. Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effect. Written by Dr. Ethan Russo is an excellent review diving deeper into the process.
Some terpenes might promote relaxation and stress-relief, while others potentially promote focus and motivation depending on which endocannabinoid receptors within the human body are being affected.
Limonene is a citrusy terpene with an inspiring and uplifting effect that also provides a cerebral boost by supporting acetylcholine levels within the brain.
delta-3 Carene is a terpene found in cedar and pine trees. Studies suggest that this terpene may promote memory retention and help maintain a sharp mental state.
alpha-Pinene is another terpene commonly found in coniferous trees. Pinene provides a cognitive boost by acting as an inhibitor of acetylcholinesterase, offering protection for the molecules transmitting information.
Humulene is the characteristic terpene of hops. Much research has been conducted on the anti-inflammatory properties of Humulene. Research is also being conducted on Humulene as a pain suppressant, as well as an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agent.
Myrcene is the most prevalent of the cannabis plant’s roughly 200 known terpenes. A cannabis strains Myrcene content determines whether or not the plant offers a sedative effect. It is believed that Myrcene may reduce the perception of pain by stimulating the bodies opioid receptors.
beta-Caryophyllene is an interesting terpene in that it can be classified as both a terpene as well as a cannabinoid. Often described as spicy or peppery, this compound is believed to reduce systemic inflammation and potentially help with increased Anandamide production.
Linalool is the terpene responsible for Lavender's pungent aroma. Plants with this terpene have been used in traditional medicine practices for its sedative properties. This terpene is believed to also have the ability to enhance the effect of other sedatives.
Nerolidol is known for its sedative and relaxing effects, making it an excellent terpene for aiding sleep. This terpene offers a floral yet woody aroma reminiscent of fresh tree bark.